Too many people don't understand the power of social media. Fortune 500 executives, professional athletes, student-athletes, students, entertainers, politicians, etc... have all gotten into hot water because of their digital usage. I regularly counsel members of these groups about the legal, business, and reputational challengers inherent with social media and other digital communication tools and it pains me whenever I hear about someone posting something online that may destroy their professional career.
The latest Tweet that has gone viral and may be a career killer was posted on an account allegedly utilized by pr executive Justine Sacco of IAC. She allegedly wrote while en route to Africa, "Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just Kidding. I'm white!" By the time Ms. Sacco's plane landed, this message on her account went viral and caused a pr nightmare for herself and her employer IAC.
Too many self styled "branding experts", "social media consultants", etc.. advise people to share too many personal opinions online. I disagree with this advice and generally agree with Mark Twain's adage, " [i]t is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt."
Internet users may want to learn about my Digital Miranda Warning that is a take off of the criminal law Miranda Warning that suspects are provided. The Miranda Warning states, "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak with me?"
My Digital Miranda Warning sates, "You have the right to post online. Anything you post online can and will be used against you by employers, schools, the media, etc.... You have the right not to post online. If you feel compelled to post, don't upload anything that may make you look unprofessional. With these rights in mind, do you still wish to post online?"
While my Digital Miranda Warning has saved some of my clients from digital career destruction, my hope is that more people become educated about the risks associated with utilizing social media before their online behavior destroys their reputation.
Copyright 2013 by the Law Office of Bradley S. Shear, LLC All rights reserved.